Here’s my practice routine for Tai Chi and Nei Gong.

First, stuff I do every day. I use Streaks to help me with this: I don’t actually care about the streaks themselves, but I can use the help of daily reminders for this. And, once I started poking at Streaks’ settings, I really like how it lets you decide whether / when to get notifications from it and whether / when to turn on badge markers. So, for example, if there’s a specific task that I’m mostly likely to be able to find time to do either during a mid-afternoon work break or as I leave the office at the end of the day, then I might tell Streaks to notify me at 3pm and to put a red badge on the app icon at 5pm if I haven’t completed it that day.

My current set of daily activities:


Dantian Rotations

I do two rounds of 25 per day, at the train station while either waiting to get on the train or just after I get off. I got a lot of benefit of this when I first started; I feel like the benefits have leveled off, so I might stop? But it’s not like I’ve got anything better to do when waiting for the train.


Specifically, one batch of 5 squats, going down and up very slowly; if it gets easier, I go slower. (I do this one when getting ready for bed.) Or at least I should go slower: honestly, I haven’t been taking this one as seriously as I should. Still worth working on.


I added this one relatively recently; seated meditation, sometimes focusing on breathing and sometimes doing a body scan to relax things, both from the instructions on Sung Breathing described in Damo Mitchell’s first book and again in a later one. On work days this is usually only 10 or 15 minutes before leaving for work, which honestly just isn’t much time; sometimes I do another 20 minutes when I get home, but not usually. On weekends I usually find time for a longer session, 30 or 40 minutes. I haven’t seen a lot of effect from this, but I feel like, if there’s one thing that I’m doing that has lots of evidence and tradition behind it, it’s meditation! (Though that doesn’t mean that 10 minutes is useful, even if it’s daily…)

Wu Ji

Specifically, the Lotus Nei Gong version. I’d been doing it three days a week for about half a year; I like what it does to my body, and I wanted to keep the intensity up, so I switched it to a daily thing more recently. 15 or 20 minutes most days, but longer sessions (30 minutes, working on lengthening that) three days a week. Helps with sinking (most oddly with my shoulder blades?), helps with relaxing, and I get these weird shoots of energy through my body all day after doing this.


So that’s the daily stuff. I think I’ll keep it all in there for now. I might add in some stretching; the Lotus Nei Gong folks recommend that, and my hamstrings in particular are quite tight. And if I had fewer constraints then I would do the Tai Chi first form every day, multiple repetitions of it; it’s hard to find time for that, though, especially now that I’m carving out time for Wu Ji, and I don’t have a great location for that at work either.


The next category of stuff is classes. Which, right now, means Tai Chi classes: if there were somebody in the area giving regular Lotus Nei Gong classes then I’d probably do that, but as it is my only option is multi-day seminars that happen a few times a year.

One class that I do is on Tuesdays. It’s a combined beginner / intermediate class, and I go to part of each: focusing on early postures in the second half of the beginner class, then doing Qi Gong and Silk Reeling in the part shared between both halves, and then going through the form once. I’d certainly get something out of staying for more of the intermediate class, reviewing those postures, but I also like going home and having dinner.

The other weekly class is the Saturday one: a longer Silk Reeling session, going through the form twice, doing some more review of some portion of the first form, then practicing some weapon, and then doing something else (for the last year and a half, that something else has been learning the Xin Jia form.) And once every three months or so, I get to lead Silk Reeling, which means that, the following week, I get one-on-one instruction from my teacher, which is super useful.

Once a month there’s an advanced class on Sundays: going through the second form, some applications, a different weapon, and some Xin Jia. (And, this year, also some Xingyi.)


And then there’s practice that’s less frequent than daily. On Sunday, I do more Tai Chi practice (unless it’s a week with a Sunday class): I go through the Lao Jia first form 5 times, the second form once, the Xin Jia first form once, and our current weapon a few times. If I want to get serious about learning the second form and the Xin Jia form, I should probably up those some, and I should probably add in more practice time for other weapons, so they’ll stick; for a while I was regularly reviewing Dao routines, and that helped.

And I do more Nei Gong three days a week: at lunch Tuesday and Thursdays, and at home on Sundays. (Sundays are a busy practice day! Which I’m still learning how to integrate into my habits…) I start off by doing some stretches, then I do a longer batch of Wu Ji (30 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’m pushing beyond that on Sundays), and finally I either go through the Ji Ben Qi Gong or the Five Animal Frolics. (Well, four of them, I never learned the fifth!)


Feels like I’m kind of reaching my limits in terms of time, at least without major changes? Though, who knows, I’ve found time to add Nei Gong into my days this year, I wasn’t doing any of that 8 months ago. If I really wanted to find more time, I guess the options are either to spend time during weekdays evenings practicing stuff instead of playing games / typing / hanging out with Liesl, or to spend all five weekday lunches practicing instead of playing board games with coworkers, or to work less instead of making money. And, right now, all of those options seem like they have downsides that are big enough that I’m comfortable with my choices.

The other issue is that I don’t have a regular weekly Nei Gong course available to me; so if I want more training there, I’ll have to go to seminars more often. There are local seminars available maybe five times a year; they usually last for about four days, two of which are weekends; so I both need to ask Liesl to take care of home stuff on weekends and to take some time off of work. Which I’m willing to do to some extent, but at least this year I haven’t been going to all of them; that feels like something that will change over the next year or two.

And another possibility would be to see if I could get private lessons from my Tai Chi teacher more often; I don’t feel like I’m putting in quite enough time for that to be worthwhile, though.

Or maybe I’ll decide to dial down all of this; I have a history of finding something, getting interested in it and taking it seriously for a while, and then dialing down my interest. I feel like I’m still in the upswing of that process, but given that I’ve been doing Tai Chi for four years now, it’s certainly not out of the question that I could start getting bored soon…

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